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Spinning Fibre Demo & Water Mill

Demonstrating making wool fibre

After the Breadmaking, some of the local ladies from Petrognola (I believe church ladies) did a demonstration of spinning with a distaff and drop spindle. Spinning is the process where, in this case, wool or other fibre are pulled and twisted to form yarn. The distaff is the rod that holds the wool fibre and the spindle is the weight that drops and twists while the person spinning gently pulls the fibres and makes sure that an even yarn is produced. Often, they lick their fingers to get a grip on the fibre or to bind it. Actually, lots of finger licking… so much so, it reminded me of eating fried chicken) . These sweet Italian ladies were so excited to show off their spinning prowess and answer questions from the members of the guild.

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Distaff & drop spindle.


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more fibre licking


We then were served lunch and off to Pieve Fosciana to visit the Regoli Water Mill. There used to be hundreds of small water mills dotting the streams of the Garfagnana, today, only a handful are still operating. Here we met with the owner, Ercolano Regoli. The mill has been in the Regoli family since it was built over three centuries ago. His mill grinds wheat, maize (corn) and chestnuts (for the chestnut flour, an important component of the local diet).

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Water Mill – Grinding Corn Meal


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Someone has to put the grooves back in the stone when they wear down

Did I mention Ercolano likes to garden too?

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I was fascinated by this tree with statue of the Madonna in it.



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